I didn't dare spin Celtic triumph over Rangers the other way because this old city is built on prevention – Hugh Keevins

Celtic’s Daizen Maeda
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)


Last Wednesday was the 27th anniversary of Wim Jansen being appointed Celtic manager.

The Dutchman went on to enter club folklore by stopping Rangers’ 10 in a row on the last day of the season in May 1998. You’ll notice I said Wim stopped Rangers from achieving what would have been an historic win. I didn’t spin it the other way and say he won Celtic their first championship for 10 years, an equally impressive statistic. Because that’s not how it works for the fans of both Glasgow clubs. Is it?

It is what you prevent the other lot from getting that is more important than what you win for yourself, apparently. And that’s why Celtic must sign Adam Idah and others in the coming week – or the rumbling will start among those given to premature panic. Rangers’ inability to arrange delivery of steel from Asia to complete rebuilding at Ibrox in time for the start of the new season is an irrelevance. A source of embarrassment, for certain, but not an inconvenience if temporary housing is secured at Hampden.

The only people who will get grief will be SFA president Mike Mulraney and chief executive Ian Maxwell. They will be accused of facilitating Rangers’ move rather than punishing the club for the disruption of the fixture list. It’s a spurious allegation on the basis Hampden represents no form of upheaval. But Scottish football occasionally likes to dedicate itself to the task of getting somebody – anybody – into bother.

And that brings me back to the lack of signings so far made by Celtic. Pre-season training has resumed and the team’s America trip is days away. Some suggest that boss Brendan Rodgers’ targets are with countries still involved at Euro 2024. It seem a fanciful notion. Transfer fees and wages of these players would be incompatible with a scale of investment willing to be made by a Scottish club.

Even Celtic’s bank account, which is huge by domestic standards, is minuscule where the wider world is concerned. The real problem is Rangers have signed a raft of players and Celtic have been static in comparison. It’s nothing compared to the chaos that Jansen inherited back in 1997. Then he signed a player called Henrik Larsson – and the rest is history.

There might not be a signing as iconic as the Swede in the pipeline. But he’s the perfect example that sometimes good things come to those who wait.